Light therapy for depression

Since ancient times, light therapy has been used as a remedy. More than 2000 years ago, doctors in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire cured lethargy and depression with sunlight, which was directed into the patient’s eyes.

During his Arctic expeditions in the 1980s, Frederick Cook studied the effects of sunlight on travelers and Alaska Natives. He also described a syndrome that was observed with a long absence of light during the Polar Night. It was characterized by depressed mood, loss of energy, rapid fatigue, and decreased sexual desire.

In 1946 H.H. Marx studied the positive effects of bright artificial light in treating depression in polar explorers who spent long periods in the Arctic during the Polar Night.

Modern light therapy involves the use of devices – bright artificial light sources ( Lam with et al , 1999 .;. Partonen with et al , 2001 .; Rosenthal and Matthews , 1999).

Now light therapy is used to treat mental disorders, and phototherapy is used to treat somatic diseases, such as skin diseases (psoriasis), hyperbilirubinemia (in newborns).

Before phototherapy, an ophthalmologist’s consultation is needed, especially if the patient has a history of retinal diseases, fundus, glaucoma, cataracts, and there is no lens.

Contraindications to phototherapy are zabolevaniya- system as diabetes ( Lam with et al ., 1999 .; Partonen , 2001 YG).

During the treatment with the method of light therapy , the following can be observed: headaches, fatigue, insomnia, eye strain. These side effects disappear with a decrease in the dose of light flux.

But the most serious side effects are hypomania and mania. If the patient has in the past been a mania, the risk of mania can be reduced by a mood stabilizer ( Kripke , 1991 .; Lam with et al ., 1999).

In phototherapy uses a special device – light -boks comprising fluorescent tubes, which are behind the plastic screen which scatters light ( Lam with et al , 1999 g .;. Partonen , 2001 .; Rosenthal Matthews , 1999 YG). The dose of the luminous flux should be selected both in intensity and in duration.

The effectiveness of the exposure depends on the duration and intensity of the light.

Researchers typically used a 2500 lux light source , with therapeutic light therapy sessions lasting two to six hours a day. ( Lam et . Al , 1999 .; Partonen , 2001 YG). Comparison of the effectiveness of treatment with a 10,000 lux fluorescent lamp for 30 minutes showed the same effect as when using a 2500 lux lamp for two hours. ( Magnusson , Kristbjarnarson , 1991 .; Partonen , 2001 .; Terman et . Al .., 1990 YG).

Lamp 10 000 lx is commonly used in clinical practice ( Lam with et al ., 1999).

Thus, light therapy is one of the methods of treating depressive conditions, especially those associated with a lack of sunlight.

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